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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

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Taiwan legislative election 2008 -- yet another look at the numbers

Trying to explain the inexplicable and fathom the unfathomable

Michael Turton had a long letter to the editor published in Sunday's Taipei Times about the oft-misguided "analysis" of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the aftermath of the January 12, 2008 election. His second paragraph particularly caught my eye:
To understand what actually happened on Jan. 12, it is necessary to first grasp some simple numbers. In the 1998 legislative elections, the total pan-blue vote exceeded 5.3 million votes. In 2001 it again exceeded 5 million. In 2004, 600,000 pan-blue voters stayed home and the pan-blue vote total plummeted to 4.5 million. This year, it once again exceeded 5.0 million. Similar figures for the DPP were 2.9 million, 3.4 million, 3.4 million and 3.6 million respectively.
Perhaps a tabular view of those figures -- with the change in the number of votes between December 1998 and January 2008 appended to the bottom (*Michael's corrected 2008 figures of 3,765,222 for the DPP and 5,209,237 for the pan-blues are reflected below) -- would be helpful:

Pan-bluesDPP
19985.3 million2.9 million
20015.0 million3.4 million
20044.3 million3.4 million
20085.209 million*3.765 million*
Change in number of votes over 9 years  - 90,763  +865,000

Spot the (arithmetical) difference
As you can see, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and their allies -- AKA the "pan-blues" (now all rolled into one semi-solid ball) -- lost over 90,000 votes over the 9-year period, while the DPP picked up 865,000 in the same period.

Now tell me, what sort of trend does that look like to you? What I see is that as more people come out to vote, the number of KMT votes declines, but the DPP votes increase steadily. Doesn't the distribution of seats as a result of this legislative election somehow differ vastly from that trend? Does this really look as though voters were "disappointed" with the DPP?

FURTHER READING:
* Go back and read what I wrote in 2005 about how incomprehensible the new system was going to be and about not deciding where to put the goalposts until after the game is well underway. I still think it's incomprehensible.

* Last Tuesday, Michael Turton posted what he called "One Last Election Analysis." ("Last"? Who's he kidding? I'm sure there will be more!) The content is from Shelley Rigger via the Nelson Report. Michael adds his own observations.

* Read the rest of Michael Turton's letter to the editor for lots more juicy analysis.

* See another of Michael's "last look[s]" from this past Sunday for another detailed analysis with links to the Central Election Commission where he got the numbers.

* Read Jerome F. Keating's piece from 2004, "Taiwan's Missing Millions," also available as a PDF.

Math(s)ema(n)tics: , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Monday, January 14, 2008

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How'd the KMT win? What's next? WTF?

They got high with a little help from their friends

In startling contrast to my predictions that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was desperate in the runup to Saturday's legislative election, they won a 2/3 majority.

However, in line with my aforementioned predictions, DPP votes were much higher than the numbers promoted in those pan-blue polls. Let's take a look at the helping hands that lifted the KMT to this win.

First of all was the new system which was rigged in the KMT's favor with its "winner takes all" setup assuring 8 seats in Taipei City alone. Even without all the other problems, the new system alone may have done the DPP in.

As for the polls, ESWN's Roland Soong says that calling them "pan-blue" is just an excuse (actual quote: "contemptuously dismissed as 'pan-blue' polls"), but Michael Turton does the actual analysis which self-described pollster Soong should have provided. Turton's pulling back of the curtain shows that even though the KMT numbers were right, the DPP figures Turton analyzed showed that the polls were off by as much as 75% regarding that side of the political divide. He also shows how even though the total number of DPP votes increased over those of 2001 and 2004, fewer seats were gotten due to the new system.

Clever Claire's own analysis of the numbers focuses on those same figures and tells us that "KMT gets 53.5% of the votes but obtained 77.22% of the seats, while [the] DPP's 38.17% [of the] votes gets them only 16.46% [of the] seats."

Low voter turnout (less than 57%) looks like a very important (if partial) factor here. Ya think those distorted pan-blue polls might've discouraged a bunch of DPP voters from going to the polls?

Then there's the issue of voter intimidation -- even by one's parents! My wife's father returned from the polling place before voting and "reminded" her (because one of the KMT's "observers"/henchmen saw him carrying his notification slip for the referendum) not to take the yellow notification slip with her. Of course she responded, "That's none of your business." But the fact that there were two slips and that they were different colors sure made it easy for the "observers"/henchmen.

Kinda makes those KMT cries of "The DPP-controlled CEC is repressing us!" fall flat, eh?

My wife and her sister both witnessed these "observers"/henchmen telling people outside the polling station where she voted "Don't vote for the referendum" as uniformed police officers stood by doing nothing.

The KMT aired their fake ads to the very end. Even after several fakes were discovered in their earlier ads, another guy pretending in their ads to be poor was discovered to have two children studying in Canada.

Vote buying was also a serious problem. Despite it being known about by everyone already, the evidence brought it even further out of the shadows this time around. Still, that wasn't good enough -- unless some of those cases turn some election results around. Don't know how probable that might be, however.

The help continues
As long-time observers would expect, the very non-neutral international media used this opportunity to kick their incessant distortion of Taiwan into high gear.

A BBC article on the outcome which quotes "China analyst" Shirong Chen refers to the KMT in their headline as "Taiwan nationalists," not only leaving the "Chinese" part off their full name, but getting it completely backwards. A different BBC article reveals that Shirong Chen is, in fact, their China editor. What else would one expect from the Beeb?

Echoing the meme, an Associated Press piece mirrored on CNN and under a different headline in the New York Times (probably in hundreds of other places as well) calls the KMT "Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party." Ugh!

What the DPP did wrong
* They allowed five of the "11 bandits" (11寇) to represent them. Did that get them any of those so-called "swing votes"? Nope.

* They allowed (by drawing lots, for cryin' out loud!) the gerrymandering of voting districts which gave them fewer seats even with more votes. And some people call that "greedy"?

* They didn't properly handle transitional justice or the redshirts or James Soong's threats or the constant flow of slander from the pan-blue media or so much more.

What can be done now?
* Gladly remember, as Hai Tien at the Bala Daily (巴樂日報) reminds us, "that we're not the ones who respond to losing an election by crashing trucks into government buildings, inciting riots, and throwing rule of law out the window."

* Turn off the pan-blue media -- unless you're going to spend the time to point out their contradictions a la Media Matters for America -- and encourage others to do the same.

* Brush up on the kinds of logical fallacies you will experience when dealing with KMT supporters so you'll know how to deal with them.

* If you have that right, get out and vote on March 22, 2008. Even if you don't have that right, you can encourage others to do so. Help others wake up in the meantime. Get a blog, comment on others' blogs, upload videos to YouTube, do everything in your power as a human being. It won't work with everybody, but I have singlehandedly gotten people to take off their blinders and switch their votes from the KMT to the DPP before. Have you even tried? Do you give up easily? Do you expect it to happen all by itself?

* The editorial in Sunday's Taipei Times has some thoughts about how to turn things around in the next [69] days.

* Brainstorm in the comments section. Pro-democracy comments are what I'm looking for. If you're anti-democracy, feel free to reveal your true colors as well.

Additional resources
* Sunday's Taipei Times has a PDF file that can be downloaded showing the results of the election on a huge map, Taipei City and Kaohsiung City are shown in a smaller image along with legislators at large and aboriginal seats, votes by party are a bit more visible, and a graphic comparison of the 2004 and 2008 legislatures is also available.

* The Liberty Times (自由時報) has separate pages (zh) showing vote counts for all the legislative races, votes per political party, and votes for the two referendums.

* Read about the BBC's anti-Taiwan bias as previously covered at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy and Taiwan Matters:
1) BBC gets Taiwan all wrong
2) BBC angers all who care about Taiwan
3) BBC still not getting Taiwan right
4) BBC continues Taiwan deception
5) BBC strikes again
6) BBC Taiwan Coverage: Pathetically Biased
7) BBC cooks up more nonsense about Chen recall bid
8) Who will observe the Taiwan observers?
9) BBC has news about Taiwan totally backwards
10) Another distortion piece from the BBC
* In order to get a feel for how much of the international media constantly brainwashes the world with Chinese propaganda about Taiwan, take a look at my collections of examples of some of the more common memes they use:
1) Memes: Taiwan provoke China (22 items awaiting addition)
2) Memes: Taiwan "renegade province" (35 items awaiting addition)
3) Memes: [Taiwan and China] "split in 1949" (42 items awaiting addition)
* Watch Talking Show (大話新聞) every night from 8:55 - 10:55 PM on SETN or catch the online version at your convenience via the TaiwanUS.net web site.

* Check out some of the blogs in the sidebar.

Lessons to be learned: , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

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Cold day

It's 7:30am, central time, USA here. I am watching the result 0f 2008 Legislative election posted on Liberty Times over the internet, and counting the seats DPP got. Although it's not finalized yet, but looks like most of the ballots are counted, and the differences of ballots between leading candidates don't seem to be close enough for any trouble.

And my heart turned colder and colder each time I clicked to a new page--- where are DPP's seats ? I can't find them.

In the end, I collected only 13 ... in the entire central and northern part of Taiwan, DPP got only 3. They even lost big in the southern part.

And don't mention about the referendum. Both subjects got pathetically low voting rates --- 26% something ...

For the referendum of "Asking KMT to return illegally obtained properties", its rejection by people means in the next 3 years Taiwanese are not allowed to ask KMT again with another referendum.

Awaiting ahead for Taiwanese is again a sinolized society hijacked by never-fading local warlords --- which is what Taiwanese fought so hard to get rid of. Now they welcome it back with their own ballots.

Something very seriously wrong here, I think. The thing that puzzles me the most right at this moment is --- why could have DPP, which always predicted election result precisely, made such an out of the league projection --- "37~47 seats looking up to 50" --- when their real chance is only 13 ?

Did DPP pick up the trick that KMT has been using --- reporting false prediction as a tool of campaign ?

Anyway, it's all too late by now. The history has its way to taunt people. For Taiwanese, it means, you guys have been too lucky in the past decade. The democracy just can't come easily, and now you have to learned it the hard way.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

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The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) takes the Taiwanese for fools

Don't get fooled again!

While esteemed bloggers like Michael Turton and A-gu (阿牛) are under the impression that Taiwan's DPP won't even earn 50 seats in this Saturday's legislative election, I'm personally under the very strong impression that party's opposition -- the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) -- is in full panic mode for fear that they'll lose their majority, despite pan-blue polls which attempt to convince voters that they're way ahead.

Case in point
I have seen the KMT use more crazy tactics than I can keep track of, and their recent fascination with "dirty tricks" is absolutely laughable.

But let's see who the party of dirty tricks really is, shall we?

Psychics for their scars
In an attempt to buttress their chances of being elected, the KMT has enlisted the help of an American "prophetess" (預言家) named Elizabeth Fotinopoulos (伊莉莎貝·福提諾寶勒斯). Fotinopoulos has conveniently "prophesied" that an attempt will be made on the life of their presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), but that he will survive.

Readers should remember that Taiwan's current president, Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) (DPP) survived a gunman's bullet on March 19, 2004 -- the day before Taiwan's most recent presidential election -- and that the KMT accused Chen of having "staged" the assassination attempt in order to gain "sympathy votes" and win the presidency.

Using simple math, Jerome F. Keating thoroughly debunked the possibility that any such votes would have accounted for the change in votes on either side of the political divide in the previous 8 years. Even if you've read it before, you should go over it once again so you'll be aware of the absolute nonsense the KMT spews at every turn.

Back to the future-teller
Returning from our brief aside, we must pull back the curtain a bit further to see more about this "prophetess," because by all appearances, there is a conspiracy at work here. (I wonder if she could have predicted that I'd be writing about her at this point in time.)

A Google search for "Elizabeth Fotinopoulos" (supposedly "America's most famous prophetess") -- even when limited to "English pages only" -- brings up Fotinopoulos' personal page and other pages which are written in Chinese. There is no Wikipedia page for Fotinopoulos [UPDATE 1a: screenshot], nor are there any pages (so far) on that site which even mention her [UPDATE 1b: screenshot]. There was nothing about her on Amazon.com either. What more is there to know?

The hidden truth about "Your Hidden Truth"
Fotinopoulos' book, "Your Hidden Truth," isn't only unusual in that it has Chinese on the cover. Wouldn't you know? It's published by Linking Books (聯經出版公司), which just happens part of the "UDN Group" along with the pro-unification United Daily News.

If you think that's bad, you'll be shocked when you find out that on Saturday, January 12, 2008, Fotinopoulos is giving a public talk -- timed to coincide precisely with Taiwan's legislative election. [UPDATE 2: That speaking engagement has been canceled (see the red text) for reasons not given. Bet she didn't see that coming!]

About a week ago, someone asked on Yahoo! Canada Answers:
Will the assassination of Bhutto scenario be duplicated in Taiwan in its imminent cut-throat elections?
President of Taiwan once said he was advised to declare martial law (emergency status) in the upcoming elections under certain conditions.
This was confirmed by its security bureau later.

American prophetess (Elizabeth Fotinopoulos) once said the competing, promising candidate would be in danger -- his life is threanted [sic].

Why there are so many smears, riots, murders in developing countries [sic (missing apostrophe)] elections?
Sounds like a smear is happening right there in the last sentence. (And how did this person just happen to know what Fotinopoulos supposedly said about Ma?)

Furthermore, Taiwan is not a "developing countr[y]." Chen Shui-bian did not threaten martial law, as insinuated above. And the KMT is still the party of violence, as shown by very recent history. It also just so happens that their "promising candidate" is described that way because of pan-blue polls.

How they duplicate the dupes (AKA "complete nondisclosure")
First, get someone on your side. Then, give them "credentials" by publishing their book (which you might even help them to write). Next, get them to say something that will help you achieve your goals. Finally, point to "their words" with your own newspaper [bonus link!] -- with no mention that you published her -- in effect pretending that she's a neutral source.

How many times must people see this kind of thing happen before they realize they're being duped?

Returning to present predictions of the future
In the first paragraph, I stated doubt regarding Michael Turton and A-gu's predictions about Saturday's election. Look at this parody-phrase of the KMT's "explanation" for why they "should have won" the 2004 presidential election:
"But we always used to win!"
If "election by tradition" were good enough, we wouldn't need elections at all. The fact of the matter is that voting patterns change, vote buying can be reduced, and the public can be more enlightened -- even in the face of the mendacious media -- because we're living in the age of the Internet and YouTube. A strong desire to know the truth helps, too.

Don't miss these
* The DPP's own list of 15 dirty tricks which have already been employed by the KMT
* I don't think the word "rumor" means what Chiu Yi (邱毅) wants you to think that it means.
* Don't forget how terribly wrong the pan-blue surveys in the runup to the 2006 mayoral elections in Taipei and Kaohsiung were.
* Michael Turton put a post up last night about How the Referendums Will Be Defeated. See some more KMT dirty tricks at work there.

Post valediction
With only about 36 hours remaining until this very important election, this is "the world's Nth most famous Taiwan blogger," Tim Maddog, signing off. Good night, and good luck videotaping vote buyers and getting the video(s) on YouTube.

Past, present, and future tenses: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

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Awesome YouTube video about Taiwan

Excellent summation of Taiwan's recent history

YouTube user TaiwanSkyLine has an awesome video online. It explains a lot about Taiwan's recent history -- describing how the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) foments hatred and ethnic divisiveness along with the red media. The video tells the tale in a mere 3 minutes and 53 seconds (contains some English, but Mandarin reading skills and Taiwanese listening skills are helpful):



3'53" YouTube video: "我的故鄉我的國家" ("My home, my country")


Some other things to see/hear
* The DPP Youth blog has some new tunes up for your listening pleasure.
* YouTube user sobeit2008 reworks a funny commercial into Media Illusion~統媒攏係假.
* KMT: The party of opposition (擋擋黨)
* 錢坑: The money pit dug by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)
* 一,二,三「貪」: The KMT's raison d'être
* 台灣玉山大聯盟 (Taiwan Yushan Alliance)


Inestimable entities: , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Monday, January 07, 2008

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Apple Daily Endorses Saturday's Referendums

Apple Daily's editorial page today called on Taiwanese voters to vote for social justice by voting for both referendums in Saturday's election. It correctly points out that both referendums--the KMT's anti-corruption referendum and the DPP's KMT Party Assets referendum--are serious issues that enjoy strong support from the electorate. And as everyone's favorite tabloid points out, constitutional government is not a joke, and voters should punish both parties for playing games with the people's right to direct democracy. The KMT is singled out for extra scorn for having first put forward referendums and then calling for a boycott of their own referendum.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

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KMT jonesing for the days of martial law

Who's gonna react to this?

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) is having DTs about the lack of martial law in modern Taiwan. Friday's Taipei Times gives us the money quote:
In another development, KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday condemned the DPP for accusing him and Ma of "selling out democracy," and dared Chen to declare martial law.

The DPP carried an advertisement in several Chinese-language newspapers yesterday featuring a wanted poster for Wu and Ma, portraying them as heads of a ring of swindlers selling out the country's democracy by urging voters not to cast referendum ballots. [IMAGE]

The ad called on voters to support the DPP.

"The KMT refuses to cast referendum ballots in order to simplify the election process. I call on President Chen not to play dirty tricks," Wu said yesterday while campaigning for KMT legislators in Kaohsiung City. "I dare Chen to declare martial law and bring me and Ma to justice under military rule."
I might hanker for a hunk o'cheese now and then, but never for martial law like these true junkies and their "True Believer" followers do.

Y'think the pan-blue media and the pan-blue blogs will be all over him for this? Naaaah!

Martial McLuhans: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

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Another distortion piece from the BBC

Down with Xia!

A piece with no byline on the web site of BBC News tells of the "recycl[ing]" of the former National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (國立中正紀念堂). Then it tacks on some nonsense which the BBC seems to require by policy:
Chiang was the founding father of modern Taiwan, when his defeated army was driven from the Chinese mainland in 1949.

Many native Taiwanese resented this influx of mainlanders, and suffered human rights abuses during subsequent decades.

Mr Chen has sought to undo this legacy, and the re-dedication of the hall is the latest in a series of symbolic changes, the BBC's Chris Xia reports.

Most controversial is a plan to hold a referendum on joining the United Nations as the independent country of Taiwan.

This has provoked fury in Beijing, which still regards the island as a renegade province.
The name Chris Xia is mentioned within. S/He is the BBC's East Asia editor.

Get out your mediascopes
Let's take a closer look at what I quoted above.

"[M]odern Taiwan" is often described as a "vibrant democracy." Chiang, on the other hand, was a dictator (ranked number four in the book Tyrants: History's 100 Most Evil Despots & Dictators), so he can hardly be described as "the founding father of modern Taiwan." The BBC's East Asia editor, however, somehow allowed that to appear in the article. Oh, wait. Xia is the East Asia editor.

UPDATE: The first paragraph from the section quoted above now reads:
Chiang Kai-shek, who once governed all of China, fled with his Nationalist troops to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the civil war to the Communists.
The rest remains as is. Note that the update could still be considered a pro-PRC position.

Hosted by ImageShack.us
Screenshot from the Google cache of the page
(Click thumbnail to enlarge)

[/END UPDATE]

"Mr Chen" happens to be President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) (the article does call him "President" in its first line), but he's not seeking to "undo" [Chiang's] legacy." What the Taiwanese resented wasn't merely the "influx," but rather the treatment they got. The resentment that remains is directed specifically at the people who still "hate Taiwan" and treat it as if it were part of China (which it isn't) -- not at the immigrants who have made Taiwan their home and who identify with the people here.

As for the editorial comment about the referendum being "controversial," that sounds a whole lot like a line that could have been fed to Xia by a deep-blue supporter or politician. No wonder Xia doesn't quote a source.

On the web site of Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one can easily dig up the information that will shine some light on Xia's distortion:
According to a poll conducted by the Executive Yuan's Mainland Affairs Council in April 2007, more than 77% of respondents support using the name Taiwan to apply for membership in international organizations, the United Nations included. In the face of such clear-cut public opinion, democratically-elected government of Taiwan must respond accordingly. As such, we have decided to apply for UN membership under the name Taiwan.
Xia considers 77% support to be "controversial"? Feh! Have a look at a sampling of the BBC's own controversial reporting on Taiwan:
1) BBC gets Taiwan all wrong
2) BBC angers all who care about Taiwan
3) BBC still not getting Taiwan right
4) BBC continues Taiwan deception
5) BBC strikes again
6) BBC Taiwan Coverage: Pathetically Biased
7) BBC cooks up more nonsense about Chen recall bid
8) Who will observe the Taiwan observers?
9) BBC has news about Taiwan totally backwards
Finally, as for Beijing being "provoked," remember that it is a policy choice for them, and since the PRC flag has never flown over Taiwan, it couldn't possibly be a "renegade province," so stop saying that.

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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In the China Post, losing is winning

Starring Joe Hung as "Ah-Q"

Joe Hung in the December 31, 2007 China Post:
No one wants to chicken out, but chickening out at the right time may be a blessing in disguise. By chickening out, as a matter of fact, the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) won a game of niramekko with the Central Election Commission (CEC), a government agency under the Executive Yuan responsible for holding and supervising elections, national and local, as well as referendums.
Whatever, Joe!

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Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

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